8 Ways Musicians Can Make More Money in 2021

making electronic music

making electronic music

By Janette Berrios

This article originally appeared on the Symphonic blog

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There’s no need to rely solely on music sales and touring to bring in the big bucks. Here are eight ways your music can make you even more money in 2021. Let’s dive in and learn about all of them.

1. Streaming

Having your music on streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, etc. is a no-brainer. Luckily, our friends over at Symphonic have a bunch of articles to guide you through getting your music on these platforms and how to optimize their performance.

2. Publishing Royalties

Royalty collection is a complex business. The two most common music publishing royalty types are performance royalties and mechanical royalties. With Symphonic’s Publishing Administration, these would be the two main types of royalties that they’ll collect for you.

Even though they’ll do all the complex administrative work for you, it’s vital to understand how they work and how you can best leverage them to maximize your earnings. Not sure if you’re already earning these? This article breaks it down for you.

And here’s a brief primer on the difference between collecting royalties as a “songwriter” and as an “artist,” and what that means for your music, culled from Soundfly’s free course, How to Get All the Royalties You Never Knew Existed.

3. Live Streaming

Since the beginning of quarantine, live streaming has taken over the music scene. All the while, artists have become more creative and tech savvy than ever. Don’t get left behind! With in-person shows at bay, live streaming is the next best thing.

If you’re looking to get sustainable results by monetize your streams, you’ll need to get creative. Here are some ideas to help you out:

  • Host a Live Q&A — Promote an upcoming release by turning on a live stream and hanging out with your fans for 30 minutes. All you gotta do is hop online and start a conversation. Hosting a Q&A not only gives your fans a chance to get personal with you, it also gives you valuable feedback on what your fans want to see in the future or even which songs they want on the next album! You get free, instant data and the revenue from ticket sales and tips.
  • Plan a Series of Live Streams — Erykah Badu stepped it up and created “Quarantine Concert Series: The Apocalypse” from her home in Dallas. The series is made up of three separate streams, all unique and full of life. For price, she charged $1 for the first, $2 for the second and $3 for the third. Streaming is not limited to sitting down in a single room and turning on a laptop camera. Get creative!
  • Stream Behind-The-Scenes — Give your fans a backstage experience they can’t get anywhere else. Show your creative process, you making beats, ask and answer questions, maybe even take some song requests and jam out with your fans. Keep it engaging, down to earth, and personal. Making this connection will foster more dedicated fans who will support you in the long run.

This article breaks it down even further.

+ New on Soundfly: Learn songwriting and vocal production from Grammy-winning pop artist, Kimbra, in her course: Vocal Creativity, Arranging, & Production.

Kimbra: Vocal Creativity, Arranging, & Production

4. YouTube

YouTube is another platform that continues to garner major success for independent artists. The easiest way to earn money on YouTube is with Content ID, a digital fingerprinting system that content creators (like record labels and artists) can use to easily identify and manage their copyrighted content on YouTube.

If you’re a Symphonic client, you would upload your music to this platform and they’d go ahead and upload it to YouTube’s Content ID system. When that happens, any song that is uploaded is compared against audio and video files that have been uploaded by many users all over the world.

If a match is found, we will monetize the video that has been matched and claimed, thus bringing you more royalties and ensuring that your works aren’t being illegally shared and monetized by others.

5. Video Games

The most engaging video games have great soundtracks to go with them. There’s a reason players get so immersed in their virtual worlds, and the music is a major part of that. — Consider putting out an instrumental version of one of your best tracks just for gaming playlists.

6. Merchandise

Merchandise has always been a key source of revenue for independent musicians (especially on tour). Although live shows aren’t what they used to be, live streams are a great opportunity to keep your merch sales going strong. Check out this article on how to sell more merchandise during your live streams to learn how.

+ Read more on Flypaper: “Uncommon Ways Your Song Can Make You Money.”

7. Sync Licensing

Any time your song is featured in a TV show, movie, commercial, or any visual media, that’s called a “sync placement.” In addition to performance royalties you earn for airing on TV, sync placements also pay an upfront “licensing fee,” which is determined based on the song’s market value as well as the various details of how the music was used in the production. This article on how to optimize your songwriting for sync can help increase your chances of landing placements.

8. Micro-Sync

Just as an artist would be paid licensing fees and royalties for a placement in a TV show or film, they would also be owed “micro-sync” fees and royalties for smaller features.

Some examples of the types of common micro sync placements include:

  • User-generated content (i.e. YouTube)
  • Social media posts
  • Internal company videos
  • Video presentations at events and conferences
  • Professional wedding videos
  • Podcasts

2020 has been hard for all of us. With this crazy year finally coming to an end, it’s time to look towards the future with hopeful eyes.

Whatever this second pandemic year may bring, move forward with optimism! If you can make it through a global pandemic, you can make it through anything.

Improve all aspects of your music on Soundfly.

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Janette Berrios is a music and art lover and iphonegrapher, has big hair, and loves all things marketing!

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